Tips for keeping your children (and yourself) well-hydrated this summer


Tips for keeping your children (and yourself) well-hydrated this summer

By Dr. Ingrid Maes

AKA “Dr. Mom”

In the midst of this summer’s heat wave, the question concerned mothers most frequently ask is what their children should drink to stay cool and hydrated. They want to know if soda or pop is OK to drink, or whether they should give their kids sports drinks.

My advice: Ignore the TV commercials and sports-world hype! Forget about soda (including diet) and sports drinks. They are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings and excess calories. It takes more than an hour of strenuous activity for highly-trained athletes to deplete their stores of electrolyte and glycogen that sports drinks are purported to restore, and most children don’t engage in that type of demanding workout. That’s why the number one drink to rehydrate the body is still H2O – water!

Why water? Water is the most important nutrient for life. It has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body. Unlike animals, our bodies don’t store water. That’s why it’s important to encourage our children to drink plenty of it throughout the day, not just after a baseball, soccer or lacrosse game.

Is room temperature or cold water the best way to re-hydrate? It depends on the circumstances. If your child has been playing outside in record temperatures and sweating profusely, he or she will need cool water to help the body restore its balance. Otherwise, room temperature water won’t shock the body’s systems and it will be able to rehydrate faster. (Vets recommend you can help your pets stay cool by filling their water dishes frequently with fresh cool water, not ice-cold.)  

Is Coconut water a good alternative?

Coconut water, the juice from young, green coconuts, has been marketed as nature's great hydrator, the all-natural alternative to electrolyte-replenishing sports drinks. An independent laboratory, ConsumerLab (, tested three prominent coconut water brands and found that only one, Zico Natural Pure Premium Coconut Water, had an electrolyte content equal to popular sports drinks. Sodium, an electrolyte commonly lost through sweat, is the key ingredient here. According to ConsumerLab, Zico has 160 milligrams of sodium per serving compared to sports drinks such as original Gatorade, which contains about 110 miligrams of sodium per cup. The two other coconut water brands tested by ConsumerLab contained less sodium and magnesium than advertised.

You can also include high-water-content foods, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, jicama, celery, carrots or melons, in your daily meal planning to help your family stay well-hydrated. These fruits and vegetables are excellent additional water sources, as well as nutritious snacks. Keep an abundant supply of cut-up fruits and veggies in your fridge so they are ready to be eaten whenever hunger strikes.

Other options

After playing outdoors or exercising, if you or your children require a bit of a pick-me-up, there are other options. Recent studies have shown that some solid foods, such as bananas and raisins, may be just as effective for sustaining performance and restoring the electrolyte balance of hard-working athletes. And with the extra benefits of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, these fruits may better complement a complete nutrition and fitness plan. And check out the “Workout Recovery” smoothie in our recipes section

Because liquids are absorbed better and replenish the body quicker, when it comes to your children you may want to stick with fluids to rehydrate their bodies. If your children don’t drink enough water, you can mix it up by substituting the following easy, all-natural and healthy “sports drink” recipes:

All-Natural Sports Drink – Lemon Flavor:                                   

  • 1/4 c. honey (optional)
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (not from concentrate)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  •  1 tsp (175 mg) ionic magnesium citrate (you can pick up Natural Calm magnesium at the PureBalance Apothecary)
  • 2 quarts water or coconut water(Zico*)

Mix well in high-speed blender. Makes a little over 2 quarts (64 ounces).

*Note: If you use Zico coconut water, eliminate magnesium and sea salt.

All-Natural Sports Drink – Cranberry-Pomegranate Flavor:

  • 2 c. 100% juice cranberry-pomegranate juice (not from concentrate)
  • 1/4c. honey (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp (175 mg) ionic magnesium citrate* (you can pick up Natural Calm magnesium at the PureBalance Apothecary)
  • 2 quarts water or coconut water(Zico*)

Mix well in high-speed blender. Makes 2-½ quarts (80 ounces).

*Note: If you use Zico coconut water, eliminate magnesium and sea salt.

The best way to prevent dehydration is to make sure your kids get plenty of fluids (even when they’re not thirsty) when playing with friends or engaging in sports outside!

Signs of Dehydration:

If your child is sweating a lot on a hot day or during intense physical activity, watch for signs of dehydration, which can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Dry, cool skin

Take immediate action – drink cool water and get to a shaded area. In the case of nausea, vomiting or fever, your child may require emergency medical attention.

Protect Your Skin From the Sun With 3 Easy Steps

With all this beautiful weather and summer upon us, many people are spending time outdoors enjoying the sun.

And let’s face it, after being cooped up for the winter, many of us may even be overdoing time in the sun!

While most experts are finally agreeing that sunshine has its health benefits, it’s still vitally important to practice a healthy balance of sun exposure and sun protection. 

Healthy Sun Exposure Has Great Benefits 

When it comes to health and healing, I recommend that everyone spend at least 10 minutes in the sun per day (without sunscreen) as the best way to keep your serum vitamin D at optimum levels for good health.

Why Healthy Sun Protection Is Critical Too

But what do you do when beautiful weather arrives and you want to be outside all day? How do you protect your skin from the sun?

This question comes up a lot because of the sunscreen controversy in natural health circles today. The thing is, most sunscreens on the market have toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health. And if you’ve been reading our newsletters and articles, we’re certain you really care about creating your best health.

Choosing a good sunscreen is just as important as choosing good, healthy, toxin free foods. After all, your skin eats everything you put on it!

In fact, toxic chemicals from sunscreen absorb straight into your skin and ruin your health by disrupting your hormonal systems and increasing the production of free radicals.

Let’s discuss skin protection for those times when you are in the sun for more than 40 minutes or there is a possibility of sunburn based on the intensity of the sunlight.

Top Sunscreen Ingredients to AVOID

Shopping for the best sunscreen can be confusing at best. Here’s are sunscreen ingredients to avoid:

  • Spray or Powdered Suntan Lotion with Micronized and Nano-Scale Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide –Micronized and nano-scale zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreen provide strong UVA protection and while these ingredients have not been found to penetrate healthy skin, powder and spray products are often inhaled. You can actually inhale these small particles and they can potentially damage your lungs. European companies are already phasing out the use of these products.
  • Oxybenzone - a widely utilized ingredient that rates poorly due to high absorption through skin, high rates of allergic reactions, and growing concerns about hormone disruption

Animal studies indicate oxybenzone has estrogenic effects. Numerous other studies have linked   oxybenzone to hormone disruption, cell damage, and cancer.

  • Fragrance -it is always best to avoid fragrances unless they are plant based. Unfortunately, a loophole in federal law doesn't require companies to declare any of the dozens of toxic chemicals that a single product's fragrance mixture could contain.
  • Parabens (Methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, Isoparaben, etc.) – a common preservative used in sunscreens. Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, and some studies show it plays a role in the development of breast cancer and urogenital abnormalities.
  • Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate or OMC) – this common ingredient in sunscreens has estrogenic effects, causes disruption of thyroid hormone and brain signaling and reacts when exposed to sunlight.
  • Octisalate - a penetration enhancer that may increase the amount of other ingredients passing through the skin.
  • Avobenzone - an unstable ingredient that breaks down in to unknown chemicals in sunlight.
  • Octocrylene -produces free radicals in UV light, like sunlight.
  • Homosalate -a weak hormone disruptor that forms toxic metabolites.
  • Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid) - known to produce free radicals in sunlight, causes DNA damage and may cause cancer.
  • Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA / PABA Ester) -a paba derivative, releases free radicals, damages DNA, has estrogenic activity and causes allergic reactions in some people.
  • Menthyl Anthranilate – produces free radicals and has been banned in Europe and Japan.

If your own health isn’t reason enough to avoid these ingredients, do it for the sake of our oceans. National Geographic presented a theory where they implicate toxic chemicals from sunscreen in the death of coral reefs around the world.  

So How Do You Protect Your Skin From Too Much Sun?

There are healthier sunscreens and I am going to share my favorites with you. But first, it’s important to know that what you eat actually has more importance on your skin health than you think!

Eat For Sun Protection

Sun protection starts from the inside because what you eat can naturally protect your skin from the sun. Here are two great examples of how you can nourish yourself to better skin: 

  • Antioxidants- a diet rich in antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, lycopene and selenium has been shown to protect your skin from sun damage.

The reason for this is because antioxidants fight the free radicals from the sun’s UV light. These free radicals contribute to cell damage, aging and the risk of skin cancer. [1]

A study in 2007 showed that the antioxidants carotenoids and flavonoids can reduce skin sensitivity to the sun.[2]

If you want to get carotenoids, eat your carrots, kale, spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, papaya and tomatoes. Flavonoids can be found in foods like apples, pears, berries, black beans, cabbage and parsley.

  • Probiotics – live good bacteria, called probiotics, can contribute to skin health by enhancing your digestion (for example, you can eat antioxidants, but if you can’t digest them well, you won’t get their full benefits!) and reducing systemic inflammation.

A study published in 2010 found that a supplement containing probiotic and carotenoids reduced skin damage from UV light.[3]

Consuming probiotic foods, drinks and supplements can have many benefits for your overall health!

So is diet alone good enough for sun protection? Well, it helps, but I also recommend choosing an all-natural sunscreen for added protection.

Choose Healthy, Natural Sunscreens

Here are some of my favorite all-natural sunscreens:

  • Zinc Oxide - a physical sun blocker similar to oxybenzone, but without the toxic side effects.
  • Sun Defense Minerals by Emnence Organics - provides intense SPF 30 sun protection in the form of a make-up powder. The tinted powder is sweat-proof and water-resistant, hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory. Plus it is naturally anti-bacterial and will not clog your pores. Eminence does a great job with sustainable packaging too for an extra bonus!
  • Tomato Suntan Lotion (SPF 22) by Organic Skincare - filters the sun's harmful rays with tomato and other natural ingredients like sesame oil, carrot, aloe and titanium dioxide. The handpicked, organically grown ingredients are rich with body beautifying and protecting antioxidants like lycopene, bioflavonoids, and carotenoids.
  • Antioxidant Sun Butter Level 18 Sunblock Cell Protection by ISun Organic Skincare - blends mango seed butter with zinc oxide and Phytoplankton Phytolyase enzymes into a butter that not only guards against sunburns, but also repairs damged skin.
  • SPF 30+ Sunscreen No Fragrance by California Baby – this sunscreen isn't just for babies! California Baby is safe for sensitive skin, free of artificial scents, and has no irritating chemicals while still providing UVA-UVB broad-spectrum protection. California Baby is also very conscious to use earth friendly packaging.

It All Comes Down to 3 Easy Steps

For a worry-free summer, follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Keep your skin sunscreen free for a short period (about 10 minutes), so you can keep your vitamin D levels healthy.
  2. Consume a probiotic and antioxidant-rich diet for good digestive health and UV light protection.   
  3. Use a chemical free natural sunscreen to protect yourself when in the sun for longer periods.

And most of all, enjoy your summer outside!

[1] Sun and Skin Damage: Is Nutrition Important in Sun Protection?

[2] Carotenoids and Flavonoids Contribute to Nutritional Protection against Skin Damage from Sunlight. 

[3] Clinical evidence of benefits of a dietary supplement containing probiotic and carotenoids on ultraviolet-induced skin damage.


Are You One of 50 Million Americans Suffering With This Type of Bowel Pain? Here’s Your Solution…

If you suffer from bowel pain, you are not alone. In fact, while there are many reasons for bowel pain, one of the most commonly diagnosed is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

About 20% or 1 in 5 Americans have been diagnosed with IBS. That’s 50 million people! [i]

In this article, you will learn the symptoms that help doctors diagnose IBS and what to do if you have an IBS diagnosis. The good news is, there are natural solutions for IBS!

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

While 50 million people have received an IBS diagnosis, it is estimated that another 50 million people live with these symptoms but never seek medical care:

  • Bloating
  • Chronic abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Constipation or diarrhea (or alternating constipation and diarrhea)

What Causes IBS?

What causes IBS is still unknown. However, having spent 18 years treating thousands of patients with IBS, I have discovered some common threads in all my patients with an IBS diagnosis or IBS symptoms.

5 Common Findings in IBS Diagnosis

Here are the 5 basic things common to all people suffering with IBS:

1) Loss of normal intestinal contraction - All people with IBS have somehow lost the normal muscular contractions of the intestines that are necessary for normal elimination.  This leads to congestion and spastic release of the intestines.

2) Overgrowth of pathogens - Every IBS patient has pathogenic organisms in their bowel.  Yeast, fungi, parasites, and bacteria are the most common bugs that prefer to inhabit the sluggish, dysfunctional environment of the intestines of the IBS patient.

3) pH Imbalance - The intestinal pH is altered, which in turn causes a systemic pH imbalance.

4) Suppressed Immunity - The immune system of the intestines is suppressed.

5) Lack of good bacteria - There are not enough beneficial probiotic bacteria.

The good news is, there is hope!  You don’t have to live with the uncomfortable symptoms of IBS.

Here are 5 steps you can take to begin the reversal of symptoms associated with IBS:

1)   Reduce stress - Experts believe that emotional stress plays a large role in creating or exacerbating the symptoms of IBS. [ii]

This is backed by the fact that studies have shown that constant stress from life events have either exacerbated IBS symptoms, or lead to the development of IBS in asymptomatic individuals.

Stress reduction is one of the best first steps to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

Exercise, Yoga, and meditation are different forms of stress reduction that many of my patients have found to be beneficial in dealing with the symptoms of IBS.  Patients with IBS have also shown to have a higher incidence of traumatic events such as physical and sexual abuse.

Emotional clearing techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and the Lifeline Technique are very effective at releasing stored emotional traumas from the body and eliminating the associated IBS symptoms.

2)   Avoid trigger foods - Foods in the diet are frequently the source of symptoms in IBS.

Some of the most common foods that are most likely to cause IBS symptoms are: dairy products, eggs, and wheat.  Other potential food triggers include high fatty foods, caffeinated drinks, and raw fruits and vegetables. Foods like beans, onions, bananas, and carrots have been associated with increased gas and the source of IBS symptoms in some patients.

3)   Dehydration is a key factor in IBS.  The colon helps with water absorption for the body.  If the water levels in the body are low the symptoms of dehydration will be felt first in the colon and the dryness in the colon can lead to inflammation and irritation in the lining of the digestive tract.  This can trigger IBS symptoms.  Drink your water!

4)   Supplement with Chlorella - Chlorella is a fresh water algae that restores the normal muscular contractions of the large intestine.

Chlorella also binds to toxins in the intestinal tract and eliminates them from the body. Although there are few clinical trials using chlorella with IBS patients, I have been using it for 18 years, and find it to be one of the most effective products I have used.

5)   Supplement with Probiotics - Many research articles have concluded that probiotics are an effective treatment for IBS.  Spore form probiotics are best at passing the acid barrier of the stomach and triggering a healthy immune response in the gut tissue. These probiotics are most effective for the IBS patient.

After decades of experience with detoxification and treating bowel pain, I began to search for an all natural solution to IBS that would be easy for my patients to take. Several years ago, I decided to design an all natural remedy that would combine the benefits of the right type of chlorella and probiotics to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

What resulted is Living Fiber. Living Fiber is the first product of its kind that combines cracked shell chlorella and Bacillus subtilis probiotic. Bacillus subtilis is a spore form probiotic that attacks pathogenic yeast and bacteria, while changing the environment of the intestines.

This unique combination makes Living Fiber a gentle intestinal cleanser that restores the normal muscular contractions of the intestines, while shifting the pH of the bowel, killing off intestinal pathogens, boosting immune response, and creating an environment conducive to the colonization of beneficial probiotic organisms.

While I highly recommend all of the 5 steps above to break the IBS cycle, Living Fiber is a simple way to achieve steps 4 and 5 with one effective supplement.

Ingrid and I would love to support you in your recovery from IBS and bowel pain! Please comment below with your questions. We will be monitoring your IBS related questions and comments and respond to them by video over the next month.

As always, we want to provide information that is relevant to you and your family’s health needs!


[i] National Digestive Disease Clearinghouse (NDDCH). A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH). A Division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

[ii] ibid.

Goal Setting That Works: 3 Easy Secrets for Your Success

 If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.        -- Lewis Carroll   

Sometimes, even our best intentions don’t result in the changes we want to make. And, well, let’s face it, sometimes we set an intention and then can’t even make it to the first step. 

So why are some people so good at meeting goals and others either can’t get started or lose steam before the finish line?

The real key to meeting your goals is first being clear about where you are going and second, using surefire goal setting techniques!

The good news? Goal setting techniques are not rocket science! In fact, there are really 3 simple steps that anyone can take to make goal setting easy and successful.

Here Are Your 3 Easy Secrets to Goal Setting Success:

1. Set Specific Goals:

“I want to lose weight” is not a specific goal.  Instead, you can make your goal more specific by using the 6-W’s:

  • Who: “I”
  • What: What do I want to accomplish-specifically: “… want to lose 10 lbs … ”
  • When: Establish a time frame. “… in 8 weeks …”
  • Which: Which methods will you use? “… by following the rejuvenation program eating guidelines and exercising …”
  • Where: Where will you do this? “… in the gym …”
  • Why: Why do you want to do this? “… so I can be healthy, energetic, and in great shape.”

Specific Goal Makeover Example: “I want to lose 10 lbs in 8 weeks by following the rejuvenation program eating guidelines and exercising in the gym so I can be healthy, energetic, and in great shape.”

That is a specific goal!

Here’s our free gift to you for creating your specific goal: Here are some free rejuvenation program fitness routine videos (fitness routine #1 and fitness routine #2) to support your gentle detoxification and lifestyle transformation!

These free fitness videos show simple exercise routines can be performed from the comfort of your own home. Exercise plays an important role in enhancing the detoxification process, and these routines will improve your flexibility and strength while turning your body into a fat burning machine!

2. Set Attainable Goals:

Another reason goals often fail or lose steam is because they are not attainable from the start!

Creating reasonable, realistic, and attainable goals for yourself will make a big difference in goal success. This will also keep you motivated.  Nothing takes the wind out of your sail like failure.  Goals can always be adjusted if your progress is quicker than anticipated. However, lowering your goal can often feel like failure, which increases the likelihood of not following through.

To support you in setting your realistic, attainable goals and find out how we’re here to help, read: Why 88% of People Fail in Their Resolutions and How To Keep Yours on Track.

3. Celebrate Your Success!

Project managers have learned to include “milestones” in each project plan. Milestones are opportunities to check in at certain points in a project, well before the final end goal. At each milestone, the best project managers build in celebrations for short-term wins and a final celebration at the end of the project.

Why? Celebrations keep us motivated and allow us to feel rewarded for a job well done.

When you achieve a success along the way to your goals, tell your family and friends, pat yourself on the back, plan a celebratory evening out or maybe choose a nice reward for yourself.

Your Health Is A Journey

And remember: your health is a journey. Failure is a destination…and you only fail if you give up. Continue focusing on your goals and you will succeed! If you stumble along the way, come back to these 3 steps and start again. We learn most when we embrace the fact that life is not about attaining perfection on the journey, but loving every step of the way, bumps and all.



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Sunlight provides Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Your Health

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin  we obtain mostly from sunlight and in small amounts from certain foods.  Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays and it is the UV-B rays that are capable of producing vitamin D in your body by acting on the cholesterol in your skin.  For almost 30 years the conventional thought around vitamin D has been that 10 minutes of sunlight on your arms and legs every day will provide the necessary amount of D.

Although this sounds like great advice it is really an oversimplification of some complicated biochemistry in your body.  In order for the D producing UV-B rays to reach your skin and produce vitamin D depends on a variety of different factors:

Skin Color: Lighter skin color allows deeper penetration by UV-B rays, which decreases the amount of sunlight exposure needed for adequate vitamin D production. That means darker complexions will need longer amounts of sunlight to produce the same amount of D.

Season: if you live above 35 degrees latitude north or below 35 degrees latitude south there are little to no UV-B rays from early autumn to late spring.

Altitude: The higher you live above sea level, the greater exposure you have to UV-B rays.

Pollution and Clouds: Both of these factors influence the number of UV-B rays  reaching  your skin.

Age: Aging creates changes that make it difficult for UV-B rays to convert cholesterol to vitamin D. Elderly people need to rely almost exclusively on food sources rather than sunlight for their vitamin D needs.

Vitamin D Facts:

Vitamin D has been shown to influence over 2,000 genes in your body. That is why it influences so many diseases like cancer, autism, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30% of cancer deaths (that is 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States) could be prevented each year by simply correcting levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is you best defense against colds and flu.  Vitamin D regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. People with optimal levels of Vitamin D rarely get sick.

Many research studies have concluded that up to 95% of U.S. senior citizens are deficient in Vitamin D.  Those same studies show that all Americans are upwards of 85% deficient regardless of age.

Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in adults of all ages who have a darker complexion such as those whose ancestors are from Africa, the Middle East, or India.

The increased public fear around skin cancer and the use of sun blocking agents also keeps the beneficial UV-B rays from penetrating the skin thereby adding to the Vitamin D deficiency.  Many people limit their outdoor activities preventing them from getting the needed sun exposure.
Vitamin D helps your body regulate its blood sugar levels, playing an important role in preventing type II diabetes.  Research shows that 60% of type 2 diabetics have vitamin D deficiency.

Studies also show very low levels of vitamin D among children, the elderly, and women.

One U.S. study of women revealed that half of African American women of childbearing age could be vitamin D deficient predisposing their children to both immune and developmental disorders.

The current Dietary Reference Intakes by the Institute of Medicine range from 200 to 600 IU per day depending on age, with the U.S. upper limit for vitamin D being 2,000 IU per day.

These numbers are out of date.  They do not take into account a great deal of research on vitamin D and its effect on human health that's been published over the last several years.

To recommend a particular dose for everyone is ridiculous given the different influences we have already discussed.  I recommend that everyone get their blood levels monitored to be certain that there is a need for Vitamin D therapy, and to ensure the therapy is effective.  Some will not need vitamin D while others can need as much as 50,000iu for short periods of time.

I find the majority of patients that I work with in the Chicago area need 5,000-7,000iu in the fall and winter and 3,000-5,000iu in the spring and summer. It is important to understand that in the summertime, when you sunbathe for 30 minutes, your body produces about 20,000 IUs of vitamin D.  So the quantities I am recommending are not too high.  No matter where you live have your serum vitamin D levels checked.  Ask your doctor or laboratory for the 25(OH)D test, also known as the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Please note that some labs do a similar test called 1-25(OH)D test, which is not as accurate a marker of your vitamin D status.

Most people should also strive to eat some foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D, such as:

Food Sources             Serving                 Vitamin D (IU)
Wild salmon               3 ounces                        530
Cod liver oil                1 teaspoon                    400
Sardines, canned      3 ounces                        231
Organic egg yolk       1 medium                         25

For those that require supplementation I ask you to be very careful which brands you use.  Vitamin D is fat soluble, and like many fat soluble nutrients, manufacturers use toxic chemical solvents to extract and separate the vitamin D.  These solvents will leave residues in your vitamin D that you want to avoid.  My favorite Vitamin D is D3 serum from Premier Research Labs.  It is not manufactured with any toxic solvents and it contains a full 2200iu per drop.  That makes it the cleanest and most cost effective vitamin D I have been able to find.

Be sure to have your Vitamin D levels checked at your next doctors visit.

If you require supplementation you should work with someone that is experienced in vitamin D supplementation to create a customized plan based on your specific needs.

Woman Applying Makeup

10 Toxic Chemicals to AVOID in Your Personal Care Products & What to Choose For Lasting Beauty

You want to look and feel your best for the long term...

But beware...hiding innocently in the bottles and jars of beauty products are some toxic chemicals that find their way into your skin and your body.

Lurking in the beauty and skincare aisles are: 1

  • Over 10,500 chemicals used in personal care products.
  • More than 100 toxic chemicals traditionally used in shampoo
  • More than 4,000 toxic chemicals used in fragrances

What this means is that from the time you wake up, until you leave for work in the morning, you may be exposed to well over 100 toxic chemicals! 2

And if you thought the FDA was protecting you, the truth is, they don’t.

While they require personal care ingredients to be listed in the appropriate order on the label, it’s actually the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) that calls the shots. 3

Hardly a system of checks and balances, the CTFA is the group that governs and ensures the safety of the personal care industry, including paying the scientists who determine ingredient safety (the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel or CIR).

An article in Natural News shows just how “active” the CIR has been in protecting your health:

“Of the 7,500 products tested by the EWG [Environmental Working Group], a mere 28 had been evaluated for safety by the CIR. The EWG found that one in every 120 products analyzed contained ingredients certified by the government as known or probable carcinogens and that nearly one-third of the products contained ingredients classified as possible carcinogens. Astoundingly, 54 products even violated recommendations for safe use that the CIR had put in place, yet these products are still available for sale today.”4

So who’s looking out for your best interests?

Well, you should be! And we are too, because at PureBalance Natural Health Center, we are committed to keeping you well informed about the best choices for your health.

The good news is, once you know about these poisons in your personal care products, you can choose pure, natural alternatives to keep you feeling (and looking!) your beautiful best.

The Care and Feeding of Your Skin

You care about the food and supplements you put into your mouth, choosing organic produce and natural, whole foods to stay energized, fit, healthy and youthful.

But what about the products you put on your skin?

Did you know that your skin “eats” the personal care products you use as well? It’s true. Your skin is your largest organ and once you apply a personal care product to your skin, it is absorbed and enters your bloodstream. Since most skincare products contain toxins these days, your immune system and liver go on alert to deal with them.

Over time, you may experience symptoms of toxic overload, such as:

  • Dry skin
  • Itchy scalp
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Sinus problems
  • Allergies
  • Hives
  • Headaches

But it doesn’t stop there.

Since we are exposed to toxins from the environment and food, eventually, you may experience more serious symptoms of toxicity.

We often see cases of this at Pure Balance Natural Health, which is why many of our services are dedicated to detoxification assessment and treatment.

Even more important than treatment, however, is prevention!

Since we can’t always control the toxins we take in from the air we breathe or the places we work, we CAN take control of the food we eat and the products we choose. Some simple steps to switch to pure, natural options can remove the toxic load and relieve your body.

Here are some articles to help you make pure, healthy choices:

And if you want to truly pamper your body, there are also some changes you can make in your personal care and beauty products.

10 Chemicals to AVOID in Your Personal Care Products

Next time you pick up your beauty or personal care products, take a look at the label.

Here are the top 10 chemicals to avoid:

  1. Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) -- Here’s one chemical that the CTFA has suggested you avoid.5However, that hasn’t stopped this toxic chemical from finding its way into everything from shampoo to soap and toothpaste! SLS and it’s less toxic (but still offensive) cousin, sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents responsible for creating suds or foam.Both SLS And SLES are considered carcinogens and SLES is sometimes contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which is considered carcinogenic by the US Food and Drug Administration. 6
  2. Parabens (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, p-Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, n-Butylparaben and Benzylparaben) -- the most widely used preservatives in cosmetics, parabens are found in an estimated 13,200 personal care products ranging from makeup (like foundations and mascara), hair products, shaving cream, deodorants, sunscreens and moisturizers. 7Since 1998, studies have linked parabens (which have estrogen-like properties) to breast cancer. In 2004, a UK study found parabens in samples of breast tumors. 18 out of 20 of these were found to have come from products applied to the skin. 8While more conclusive studies need to be done, I agree with the many health experts who feel that parabens are best eliminated from your beauty regime, particularly the lotions and deodorants that stay on your skin all day.
  3. Diethanolamine DEA, Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA-- a whetting agent that is responsible for lather in shampoos and consistency in lotions, DEA reacts with other ingredients in personal care products to become the extremely carcinogenic NDEA (nitrosodiethanolamine).The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recommended that NDEA should be treated as a carcinogen in humans.9Beware of other ethanolamines like triethanolamine TEA and monoethamolamine MEA. These dangerous chemicals are also found in sunscreens and many other cosmetic products.
  4. Lanolin-- found in cosmetics and lotions, lanolin is treated with toxic pesticides and can cause allergic reactions.
  5. Mineral oil-- found in many moisturizers, mineral oil disrupts your normal skin respiration by blocking oxygen.
  6. Petrolatum-- has the same adverse affects as mineral oil.
  7. Talc-- belonging to the same family as asbestos, talc is dangerous to inhale and has been linked to ovarian cancer if used in the genital area.
  8. Triclosan -- found in toothpaste, liquid soaps, dish soaps, antibacterial soaps and anti-bacterial products (toothbrushes, towels, cutting boards, etc.), triclosan is believed to disrupt thyroid function and contribute to liver and inhalation toxicity. 10Avoid triclosan, its chemical cousin, triclocarbon, which are often found in products that say they are "antibacterial."
  9. Phthalates -- found in nail polish, hairspray and shampoos, phthalates have been linked to endocrine system disruption (particularly causing low sperm count and testicular atrophy in males) and liver cancer.11
  10. Formaldehyde family(Diazolidinyl urea, 3-diol Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium-15, Nitorpropane-1, Formalin, Methanal, Methyl aldehyde, Methylene oxide) – Found in most personal care products, formaldehyde can cause symptoms from allergic reactions to dermatitis, joint pains and headaches.Products with formaldehyde can cause cancer and immune dysfunction12 and have been banned in cosmetics in Sweden and Japan.13

The Best Beauty Products for Lasting Health

Now for the good news!

Here are some toxin-free products that are pure, natural and better bets for you and your family:

If you want long-term beauty and health, choose all-natural products and your body will reward you with lasting energy and youthful vitality!



1Hauser Holland, Suzanne, RN, MSN. Many Personal Care Products Contain Toxins.

2Stay, Flora, D.D.S. Are You Giving Your Child A Daily Dose of Toxins? August 2008.

3Connealy, Leigh Erin, M.D. Beauty to die for: health hazards of cosmetics and skin care products revealed.

4 ibid.

5 Chemicals. CHEC’s Health House.

6 ibid.

7 Arditti, Rita. Cosmetics, Parabens, and Breast Cancer. 2004. Organic Consumer’s Association.

8 ibid.

9 Diethanolamine(DEA): A Carcinogenic Ingredient in Cosmetics & Personal Products Cancer Prevention Coalition.

10 EWG’s Guide to Triclosan. Environmental Working Group.

11 Phthalates.

12 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Announces Nail Polishes to Become a Little Safer; OPI, Orly and Sally Hansen Brands to Remove Ingredient. Business Wire. August 2006.


Woman with arms around man

Fiber and Probiotics: Why This Little-Known Combination is Key for Good Digestive Health

For years, fiber has been touted as one of the most important parts of a healthy diet and healthy elimination. And it’s a degree.

Enter probiotics. Over the past decade, probiotics have been growing in worldwide popularity in the medical and natural health community. Everything from yogurt to ice cream and beauty products are now boasting "live cultures" to improve digestion and elimination, boost your energy, and even restore a youthful appearance.

Separately, fiber and probiotics are important additions to your diet. But did you know that together, they can create a powerhouse of health benefits?

The Incredible Health Benefits of Fiber and Probiotics

Fiber is an indigestible substance found in carbohydrates, like whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables and fruits. A great deal of research has been done on the health benefits of fiber.

Here are some of fiber’s health benefits:1

  • Fiber helps maintain a normal weight.
  • Fiber helps relieve constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Fiber has a role in disease prevention, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gall stones, kidney stones and diverticular disease.

Although fiber is an important part of a balanced diet and plays a role in regulating the digestive system, fiber does NOT address the core problems that lead to poor digestive health.

Here's why:

  • Fiber does not address the cause of digestive problems. Fiber is inert, it is more analogous to the use of a roto-rooter to unclog a pipe and improve the flow through that pipe; this is important but it does not fix the original cause of the clogged pipe.
  • Fiber does not balance your gut ecology. Your gut ecology plays a key role in digestive health. Your digestive system is incredibly complicated and serves several functions beyond digestion of food and nutrient absorption. In fact, your digestive system is an ecological system housing good bacteria and yeast living in homeostasis with bad bacteria and yeast. This combination of microflora -- the good guys and bad guys in your digestive tract -- make up your gut ecology. If your gut ecology is out of balance, you experience poor digestive health. Probiotics (good bacteria and yeast) means "for life" and they actually help us live healthier lives by aiding digestion and assimilation, boosting immunity, increasing energy and improving the nutrients in our food. They also help to balance out your gut ecology by keeping the bad bacteria and yeast at bay.

So you might think of fiber as a facilitator of the digestive process and probiotics as the team of microflora that create a healthy environment in your gut.

Now that you know about probiotics, there’s another critical fact to be aware of: most people don’t have enough of them in their gut. Unfortunately, in our modern, on-the-go lives, we often encounter the very things that kill good bacteria and yeast (probiotics): the typical American diet (yes, what you eat matters!), alcohol and drugs (prescription, over the counter and recreational) and environmental toxins.

Chief among the probiotic-killers are things many people face daily: stress and processed foods (sugar, bread, fast foods and packaged foods).

All of this means that your gut - and your digestive health - starts to break down.

And this is when most people begin to notice symptoms, like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, GERD, food allergies, IBS, Chron’s disease and more.

What If You Put Fiber and Probiotics Together?

With a deep background in detoxification and the application of nutrition and botanical medicine for creating digestive health, the question of fiber and probiotics began to pique my curiosity.

What happens if you put them together?

After all, the probiotics can facilitate gut health and the fiber can help move things along in your digestive tract. Seems like a winning combination, right?

The answer is a resounding YES, need the RIGHT probiotics and the right combination of ingredients to truly make this winning combination come alive.

Research demonstrates that most strains of probiotics don’t make it past your stomach. The reason is that as soon as these good bacteria and yeast strains hit your stomach acid, they essentially die.

Does this mean that probiotics are not good for you?

Not at all! Even dead, probiotics have beneficial affects on your digestive system and immunity. However, they do not seem to re-colonize (or re-populate) in a gut that is lacking the necessary probiotics to begin with.

And that’s the re-colonize your intestines with plenty of good bacteria and yeast so that your gut ecology balances out and contributes to your overall health, energy and well-being.

To learn more, read: Six Foods to Eat and Avoid for Your Best Detox Diet.
So what strain of probiotics can make it past your stomach acid and change the environment of your intestines?

How to Balance Your Gut Ecology and Improve Your Digestive Health

With the goal of finding a probiotic that would change the environment of the intestines, I began to study the soil organisms. This lead me to a probiotic strain that is widely known and used in other countries: Bacillus subtilis.

Bacillus subtilis has a long history of use, along with research studies showing:

  • Bacillus subtilis has been shown to fight human bacterial pathogens.2
  • Bacillus subtilis has been shown to inhibit the growth of H. pylori, a pathogen that is the major cause of chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease (16) and is a risk factor for gastric cancer in humans.3
  • Bacillus subtilis has beneficial effects on the immune system and has been shown to have anti-tumor effects.4
  • Studies on female chickens found that Bacillus subtilis may lower cholesterol in the liver and carcass, reduce abdominal fat and reduce fat in the liver.5
  • The Bacillus subtilis strain of bacteria actually excretes the coveted nattokinase, known to have health benefits like dissolving blood clots and preventing heart attack and stroke. In fact, the Japanese reap health rewards from eating “natto,” which is a soy product fermented with Bacillus subtilis.
  • Bacillus subtilis balances your gut ecology and promotes the growth of probiotics in your intestines.

Bacillus subtilus has been studied since the 1800's and has GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status after hundreds of years of use both by health practitioners and in scientific studies.

Even better, Bacillus subtilis is a spore form bacteria. That means it survives the stomach acid 100% intact. It reaches your intestines live and immediately starts to work on improving your gut ecology.

So where does the fiber come in?

Well, Bacillus subtilis needs two types of food in order to thrive:

  1. Fiber
  2. Protein

When you combine Bacillus subtilis with the fiber and protein it needs to thrive, it's like sending in the Navy Seals to rid your body of the bad guys (bad bacteria and yeast) and clean up your intestines -- so the good guys (good bacteria and yeast) can set up shop.

A Winning Combination for Your Digestive Health and Immunity

Upon learning all of this, I wanted to find a way for my clients to benefit from Bacillus subtilis.

But there was nothing on the market that combined this soil probiotic with the right amount (and quality) of fiber and protein to allow it to thrive, thus improving gut ecology.

So I formulated my own product, called Living Fiber. Living Fiber is a unique product that combines the power of Bacillus subtilis with a proprietary form of the superfood, Jade Chlorella Pyrenoidosa (protein for the Bacillus subtilis) – one of the world’s oldest foods, and a proprietary prebiotic (fiber that feeds Bacillus subtilis).

To learn more about Jade Chlorella, read: Fall into Health: The 4 Steps to Great Health Through Detoxification.

This combination creates a cleansing and detoxification powerhouse that can help improve the motility of your intestines, balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut and boost your energy and immunity.

Living Fiber is for you if you:

  • Want to start a cleanse or detoxification program (In which case, I recommend Living Fiber and Seigen for an even more effective cleanse).
  • Experience IBS – There is already promising research showing the benefits of Bacillus subtilis on IBS, so I have already started my own research trial on Living Fiber and benefits for IBS.Jade Cholorella is also promising for IBS. Last year an independent research trial on the health benefits of Jade Chlorella demonstrated excellent results with IBS symptoms. One of the outcomes from the study was the suggestion by the review board that a larger scale IBS specific study be performed.
  • Suffer from constipation, Chron’s disease, gas, bloating or diverticular disease.
  • Have candida, parasites or a bacterial infection.
  • Have a healthy digestive system and wish to maintain digestive health and overall well being.

Living Fiber is not native to the human intestinal tract, so it provides its benefits while inside your body and is excreted out. What it does, is leave behind clean, balanced intestines, so that you can re-colonize your intestines with healthy bacteria and yeast.

Once your gut ecology is balanced with Living Fiber, you can reap even more rewards by consuming fermented foods and drinks, like cultured vegetables and probiotic liquids.

Living Fiber is FREE of: sugar, salt, wheat, soy, magnesium stearate, corn, milk, fillers, binders, flow agents, artificial colors and artificial flavors.

Click here to learn more about Living Fiber.

You deserve to feel your best and now you can, with the power of the right probiotics and fiber in Living Fiber!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any diseases.



1 What Are the Health Benefits of Fiber?

2 Irina V. Pinchuk, Irina,V., Bressollier, Phillipe, Verneuil, Bernard, Fenet, Bernard,Irina B. Sorokulova, Irina B., Mégraud, Francis and Urdaci1, Maria C. In Vitro Anti-Helicobacter pylori Activity of the Probiotic Strain Bacillus subtilis 3 Is Due to Secretion of Antibiotics. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2001 November; 45(11): 3156–3161.doi: 10.1128/AAC.45.11.3156-3161.2001.

3 ibid.

4 Kavetsky, R.E., Gromashevsky, V.L. Anticancer And Immunostimulatory Effects Of Nucleoprotein Fraction Of Bacillus Subtilis 7025 Culture Medium Filtrate. Experimental Oncology 25, 199 – 123, June 2003.

5 Kalavathy, R., Abdullah, N., Jalaludin, S., Wong, C.M.V.L. and Ho, Y.W. Effect of dried Bacillus subtilis culture on growth, body composition and hepatic lipogenic enzyme activity in female broiler chicks. Br-J-Nutr. 1995 Oct; 74(4): 523-9.

blueberries are a great snack

Health Benefits of the Blueberry

Not only are blueberries yummy, they have some fantastic health benefits.

You won't find a healthier berry than a blueberry. Most commercial berries are extremely high in pesticides and herbicides.

The blueberry, however, consistently tests for low levels of toxic chemicals compared to other fruits. Blueberries contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but it is the antioxidant properties of blueberries that separate it from other berries. Blueberries are high in anthrocyanidins which in addition to giving the blueberry its dark color are also responsible for some of its greatest health benefits.

Choose blueberries to improve heart health, vision health, and digestive health.

It is one of the tastiest healthy things you can do for yourself. Blueberries are in season from July to September, and they are great to toss into yoghurt, kefir, or to add to a smoothie. You can also freeze them to enjoy during the rest of the year. When picking your blueberries choose firm, dark berries. The deeper the color of the blueberry the richer it is in antioxidants and the higher its medicinal value.